Monday, December 11, 2017

Audiobook Review - Neaderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid @ReidRomance

Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid 
Narrated by Jennifer Grace
Series: Knitting in the City #1
Publisher: Penny Reid, Author
Publication Date: June 25, 2014
Date Read: November 5, 2017
Length: 14 hours 24 minutes
Source: Audible Purchase
There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn't know how to knit.

After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can't help wondering what new torment fate has in store. To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan- aka Sir McHotpants- witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can't afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tendencies- to make her an offer she can't refuse.
My Review

This was such a fun romance!  I have heard so many wonderful things about Penny Reid and have had this book in my Audible account for a couple of years so I thought it was time to finally give it a try.  I can understand why so many readers have raved about this author's work.  I was hooked on the book from the start and enjoyed it until the very end. 

Janie starts this story out having a very bad day.  She loses her boyfriend, her apartment, and her job in a single day.  She is escorted out by the hot new man working with security, Quinn.  She moves in with best friend while she tries to get her life in order.  She actually handles all of this a whole lot better than I would have imagined. 

Janie is a great character.  She is really smart and tends to over share.  Conversations with Janie often go in strange directions but are always a lot of fun.  She doesn't take the easy option if it doesn't feel right.  Quinn was amazing.  He was such a good match for Janie and really seemed to watch out and care for her from the very start.  I thought these two had some great chemistry with each other and had a lot of fun being there while they fell in love.

I thought Jennifer Grace did a fantastic job with the narration of the audiobook.  I haven't listened to her work before but will be looking for her again in the future.  She was able to present the book in such a way that the funny parts seemed a bit funnier and the romantic parts left me swooning.  I liked how she was able to voice a variety of characters with ease and I never tired of listening to this book.

I would recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance.  This book had a little bit of everything.  Some parts were funny, some were loaded with action, some parts made me think, while others touched my heart.  I definitely plan to read to continue with this series in the future.

This ebook is currently free on Amazon, B&N, and Kobo.
About the Author

Penny Reid is the USA Today Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she's not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She's also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Stacking the Shelves #97

I am really excited to participate in Stacking the Shelves, a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality.

I spent last Saturday at the auditions for the All State Honor Band.  My daughter did not get a spot in the band but it was a good experience.  Unfortunately, by the time I made it home, I wasn't feeling too well.  By Sunday, whatever illness I picked up had hit me full force.  I took a sick day Monday but I have been dragging all week.  I think I am closer to being my normal self now which is a very good thing. 

On Wednesday, we went to the holiday band concert which was nice. On Friday, my husband and I celebrated our anniversary.  (Ok, celebrated may be going too far...we had an anniversary and stayed home and acted like we normally do would be more accurate). I am looking forward to a little bit of quiet time this weekend when I am not taxiing my child around the city.

Books Purchased/Free
The Black Tide by Keri Arthur (Kindle Purchase)
The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak (Kindle Freebie)
Wolf Hunt by Paige Tyler (Kindle Freebie)

I didn't add any review books to the pile which is a very good thing.  I did pre-order The Black Tide by Keri Arthur.  I loved the first book in the trilogy and liked the second one so I am pretty excited to read the conclusion.  I picked up The Heartbreakers and Wolf Hunt as kindle freebies this week. 

What books do you add to your shelves this week? 
Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your own STS post!

Friday, December 8, 2017

November 2017 - Monthly Wrap - Up

November 2017

November is gone!  I can't believe that we are already closing in on the end of the year.  It was another busy month at my house.  Once again, band took center stage in our lives.  I had thought that we would be done with Marching Band by the time November started but the high school's football team just didn't want to lose, which was great!  The school went through several rounds of playoffs and eventually made it to the state championship game!  They lost that game by a single point but it was an exciting year.
November is not always the best weather to be out supporting the football team.  These photos were taken a game that was played in the sleet...not a lot of fun.  Everything was slippery and wet and the mom in me was afraid my daughter would fall off of the drum major stand.  I made it through 3 quarters of football and then took my wet cold self home to thaw out.

In other news, I had a week off during the month which was great.  I need more weeks off!  During that week I focused on getting caught up with some reading.  I called it Operation 9 Books in 9 Days and was able to do it.  I picked some rather short books to tackle during the week totaling 2,340 pages.

I am linking this post to the Monthly Wrap-Up at Feed Your Fiction Addiction.

Reviews Posted 
(not necessarily read in November)

Reading Stats
Books Read: 15 total
Audiobooks: 1
Digital Books: 10
Print Books: 4

Book Source for Books Read in October
NetGalley: 7
Edelweiss: 1
Blogging for Books: 2
Direct from Publisher: 1
First to Read: 1
 Purchased: 1
Won: 2
Borrowed: 1

Goodreads: 165/100 - Completed!!
Blogger Shame: 1 read towards the challenge in November

Favorites of the Month

Up Next

How was your month? Do you have any reading or blogging goals for December?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Review - An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne @_laurenlayne @readloveswept

An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne
Series: Love Unexpectedly #5
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
Date Read: November 25, 2017
Length: 218 pages
Source: NetGalley
She’s making a list—and checking it twice. But is there a nice guy among all her naughty exes? The New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines returns with a charming friends-to-lovers rom-com.

When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend, Mark.

Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants has been right in front of her all along.
My Review

This was a fun little Christmas romance!  Lauren Layne is one of my go to authors when I am in the mood for a contemporary romance.  When I pick up a Lauren Layne romance, I expect to enjoy myself for a few hours with characters that just seem to fit with each other.  This was a perfect example of her writing and I had a really nice time reading the story.

Kelly and Mark were great.  They have been best friends for the past ten years.  They live right next to each other sharing a backyard and even a dog.  Seriously, they share a dog...I am not sure that it even gets more perfect than sharing a dog.  There is one little problem in that Kelly is convinced that her romantic future is with one of her ex-boyfriends after a conversation with a psychic at the train station.

So this book was a little bit predictable.  I knew that Kelly wasn't going to find her happily ever after with one of her loser ex-boyfriends as soon as Mark entered the story.  They were just so perfect together and I thought that they had a really fun way of relating to each other.  There was some definite chemistry between them as well.

This book was filled with Christmas fun.  Kelly goes all out for Christmas and this is the first year that her parents are out of town for the holiday.  You will get the full holiday experience with this story with tree decorating, holiday movies, a Christmas parade, and even a bit of snow.  I loved the small town holiday setting and thought it added a bit of romance to the story.

I would recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance.  I thought that this was a well done friends to lovers story with a whole lot of holiday spirit.  I can't wait to read more from Lauren Layne very soon.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept via NetGalley.
Love Unexpectedly Series
Book #1 - Blurred Lines - My Review
Book #2 - Good Girl - My Review
Book #3 - Love Story - My Review
Book #4 - Walk of Shame - My Review
Book #5 - An Ex for Christmas - Now Available!

**All of the books in the Love Unexpectedly Series read as stand alone romances.**
About the Author
Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels. Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals. Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Review - The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden @arden_katherine @DelReyBooks

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
Series: The Winternight Trilogy #2
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine Del Ray
Publication Date: December 5, 2017
Date Read: December 4, 2017
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.
My Review

I loved this book.  Absolutely loved it.  I really liked the first book in the series, The Bear and The Nightingale, so I was looking forward to reading this second installment.  I enjoyed this book even more than the first.  I was completely swept away by the story and wanted to savor every word.  I honestly didn't want the story to end.  This is the kind of book that made me fall in love with reading and I know that I will reading this story again in the future. 

Vasya is such a wonderful character.  She doesn't quite fit in with what would be expected of a proper lady.  She actually spends most of this book posing as a boy.  She doesn't want the life that would be expected of her as a lady.  She wants to see the world and do some good.  She does what is right even when those actions put her at risk. 

Vasya strikes out on her own along with her trusted horse, Solovey.  Solovey is quite the traveling companion and is really a strong character throughout the story.  She finds villages that have been burned with many dead and their daughters taken by bandits.  She sets out to find the girls of a village after some advice from one of the local spirits.  One thing leads to another and she ends up seeking refuge in the same location as her brother and the Grand Prince.

It was great to see Vasya's brother, Sasha, and her sister, Olga, both have important roles in this story.  Vasya's actions will not only have an impact on her own life but could also influence how people see her family members.  Another character that I really enjoyed in this book was Morozko, the frost demon.  He is drawn to Vasya and his feelings for her are complicated. 

This book pulled me in almost immediately and never let go.  There was so much excitement in the overall story.  There are battles and violent scenes offset by moments of tenderness and caring.  The descriptions really brought the story to life.  The writing was absolutely wonderful.

I would highly recommend this book to others.  This is the second book of a trilogy that really needs to be read in order because the events of the first book are often discussed.  I found this book to be a simply wonderful fairy tale of a story.  I can't wait to see what happens next in the trilogy!

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine Del Ray directly and through NetGalley.
About the Author

Born in Austin, Texas, Katherine Arden spent a year of high school in Rennes, France. Following her acceptance to Middlebury College in Vermont, she deferred enrollment for a year in order to live and study in Moscow. At Middlebury, she specialized in French and Russian literature. After receiving her BA, she moved to Maui, Hawaii, working every kind of odd job imaginable, from grant writing and making crêpes to guiding horse trips. Currently she lives in Vermont, but really, you never know.
Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

New Releases - December 5, 2017 #newreleases #newbooks

It's Tuesday!  That means it is time to make a little bit of room on the bookshelves, load up your ereader, or make your way to your local library.  In other words - It is time to get your hands on a new book!

Here are just a few books that have just been released that you may want to grab soon:

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.

The Black Tide by Keri Arthur 

Find it at:
Though Winter Halo - the pharmaceutical company behind the evil experimentation on both children and adults - has been destroyed, the danger is far from over. Not only do seven children remain unaccounted for, but some of the vampires are now able walk in light.

The key to stopping the unthinkable lies in finding Ciara Dream, the last member of the trio behind the plot to give full light immunity to both the vampires and the Others. But Ciara, like Tiger herself, is a shapeshifter, able to take on any human form she desires.

To find her, Tiger will need to use every skill in her formidable arsenal, and even that might not be enough to save the city and the people she has started to care about.

Because the vampires are coming, and this time, the lights won't stop them.

Fatal Evidence by Kari Lemor

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes
What you don’t know can get you killed . . .

Construction company owner Scott Holland doesn’t go looking for trouble, but he’s just stumbled on plenty. The rundown mill he’s bought is plagued with mysterious incidents, and his investment partner, heiress Heather Silva, is as stubborn as she is intriguing. Dumped by his ex because of his blue-collar job, Scott is wary of Heather’s privileged background. Yet he’s drawn to her independence and strength, especially as the “accidents” grow more terrifying.

Determined to succeed without anyone’s help—especially her wealthy parents—Heather clashes with Scott again and again. But a grisly discovery makes them both targets. Someone wants Heather and Scott silenced for good. And as a killer closes in, the only option is to trust each other—or become the next victims…

Year One by Nora Roberts

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
It began on New Year’s Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed—and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.

Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river—or in the ones you know and love the most.

As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.

In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.

The end has come. The beginning comes next.
More Great Books Being Released Today
(Covers link to Goodreads)

What new releases are you excited about this week?

Monday, December 4, 2017

Review - But Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure

But Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure
Series: This Raging Light #2
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Date Read: November 21, 2017
Length: 320 pages
Source: NetGalley
Gayle Forman meets Francesca Lia Block in this dazzling story about two coma girls and the boy who connects their lives. From the author of This Raging Light, a debut that New York Times bestselling author Morgan Matson calls “remarkable.”

“Something does exist. I saw. It’s a place. Like this but different.”
“Okay, so let’s say we do reach her, that something like that is even possible. Then what?”
“Then we ask her to come back.”

Eden: As far as coma patients go, Eden’s lucky. She woke up. But still, she can’t shake the feeling that she might have dragged something back from the near-afterlife.

Joe: Joe visits the hospital every day, hoping that Jaz, his lifelong friend, will wake up. More than anything, he wants to hear her voice again. But he’s not sure anyone can reach her.

Eden & Joe: Even though she knows it sounds crazy, Eden tells Joe that they might be able to talk to Jaz. Opening themselves up to the great unknown—and each other—Eden and Joe experience life: mysterious and scary, beautiful and bright.
My Review

Well, this was disappointing.  I had a moment at around 50 pages in where I considered giving up on this book and I probably should have followed that instinct because I really didn't enjoy reading this book.  I did think that some sections of the book were better than others but I spent most of my reading time wanting to reach the end just so I could move on to something else. 

This book opens with Eden having  an accident that leaves her in a coma.  As she comes out of the coma, she has to slowly get back to her life which turns out to be a lot harder than you would imagine.  She feels a strong connection to another coma patient on her floor Jaz and eventually forms a bound with Jaz's frequent visitor, Joe. 

One of the key parts of the book revolved around what Eden experiences while in the coma.  I really found that entire section of the book to be more confusing than interesting.  I had to go back and read parts of that section several times and was still quite confused.  It made sense by the end of the book but I had lost interest by that point.

I thought that the parts of the book involving Joe were much better.  Joe was my favorite character in the book by a large margin.  He was really a good guy.  Eden and Joe's relationship was interesting and a bit unusual.  Unfortunately, it seemed to take a really long time for the relationship between these two to even get started.

I will not be recommending this book to others.  I am sure that some people will enjoy it a lot more than I did.  I was able to get through the book and would be open to trying other works by Estelle Laure.

I received an advance reader copy of this book from HMH Books for Young Readers via NetGalley.
About the Author

Estelle Laure believes in love, magic, and the power of facing hard truths. She has a BA in Theatre Arts and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and she lives in Taos, New Mexico, with her family. Her work is translated widely around the world. Visit her at and on Twitter at @starlaure.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
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